HDTV transitions: HDMI

Uscoe Fitts

HDMI is High Definition Multimedia Interface. This is the newest interface for home theater systems and High Definition television. The cable has 19 wires in a single cable and is similar to a UBS cable. It is able to carry 5Gbps bandwidth. This provides more than twice the bandwidth needed for multi channel audio and video transmission.

HDMI is an uncompressed digital signal which does not require the signal to be translated into an analog signal and then translated back into digital. These translations may degrade the signal. TV broadcasters are required to turn off analog signals in February 2009 and broadcast all digital after that date.

HDMI was founded by seven founder companies. These are Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp., Hitachi, Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Royal Phillips Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc. and Thompson, Inc. The following is taken from the HDMI web page "HDMI is fully backward compatible with PCs, displays and consumer electronics devices incorporating the Digital Visual Interface (DVI) standard. Both HDMI and DVI were pioneered by Silicon Image and are based on TMDS, Silicon Image's powerful, high-speed, serial link technology. HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio, and with 5 Gbps of bandwidth, HDMI can accommodate future enhancements and requirements.

Because HDMI was designed specifically for consumer electronics applications, it offers an array of additional consumer enhancements. As digital content can manifest itself in a variety of sizes, resolutions and formats, HDMI-enabled systems will automatically configure to display content in the most effective format. In addition, HDMI enables a single remote point and click, allowing manufacturers to deliver home theater systems that automatically configure from a single command from a remote control -- turning on or off the components necessary to view a DVD, listen to a CD, or watch cable or satellite TV".

This format is also supported by Hollywood. One could ask why? The answer lies in the fact that it was designed to prevent copying of copyrighted material. The industry is trying to design anti copying systems in the chips. In my opinion, they have done a very good job with this technology.

The latest version is HDMI 1.3 which delivers billions of colors for HDTV s and doubles bandwidth over the plain HDMI. The HDMI 1.3 seems to be more for the professional rather than the home user but we know that the home user will be using the applications for the HDMI 1.3 before very long. HD movies and advanced computer platform for games will be using the latest version very soon. The HDMI interface was designed for consumer electronics which would indicate more use for the home user. HD-DVDs, games and HD movies moves the envelop forward to the 1.3 format. This virtually removes all limits on color selection. It also incorporates an automatic audio/video syncing capability.

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About the Author
Author: Uscoe Fitts is a retired mechanical engineer. He has a BSME and a MSME degree and is a registered professional engineer. He holds three patents and has authored a number of research articles. He is a lifetime member of ASME. Web sites are SharPix Electronics and Buy the World

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